In June 2020 the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis took to the Constitutional Court a legislative modification banning the discussion on gender studies in educational institutions thereby seeking to wash his hands from having to make a decision on whether to veto the modifications himself or not, in both instances alienating an important section of his voters.
Maria Cernat and Boyan Stanislavski spoke this June via video discussion about the international conservative movement as strongly influenced by the evangelists’ movement in the United States. Poland and Romania and all of Central and Eastern Europe have felt the rise of conservatism reshaping the political landscape. Discussions on human sexuality and the refusal to educate have been one of the core causes for concern during this new wave of conservatism. In Poland, this wave is expressed in the Law and the Justice Party which channels the overall population’s dissatisfaction with the destructive transition as realized by the liberal current. In Romania, this conservative wave has found expression in the so-called “prayer group” in Parliament uniting deputies from various parties, both protestant and orthodox. Evil is the common factor.
Their nonsense rhetoric becomes violent at times so that “you can’t believe they are people of Faith”, says Maria Cernat, referring to clerics, theologians and public servants who are conservative intellectuals. “I wish we had at least a few left-wing public intellectuals in Poland. Here the situation is even worse than in America, where the left-wing is demonized as a notion”, adds Boyan Stanislavski.
However it would be incorrect to dismiss all Eastern Europe as simply racist, nationalist, and conservative by default. Ideology is the expression of economic developments. There are segments of societies that fall prey to this conservative ideology. But it is the politicians and influencers who make backwards and horrific statements and they are to blame for their role in shaping public opinion as situations arise.
“We have to do something. I try to spread the word”, exclaims Maria Cernat, explaining that the politicians attack a social or political minority and then pose as people’s saviors.
In Stanislavski’s view, it is important that the media provides a context and a broader perspective on the developments in Central and Southeastern Europe. “What happens is not something that resulted from a pox on Polish society. We are in a period of going beyond the capacity of the status quo that was installed in Poland in 1990. All the resources of that project were used up. There is nothing left to use. And the political elites exploit our emotions when they can’t come up with anything else. It is no longer “Sex sells”, it is now “Fear sells”. It’s not a fear porn, not real pornography”, concludes the Polish journalist of Bulgarian origin. In his estimation, what the Left does is not simply to fight to replace these backward politicians with some other who may be a bit more sensitive, but to change the whole structure that generates these non-solutions, and instead of having politicians run out of things to talk about, to instead offer real solutions to the public.
The video follows:
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